Culinary travel in the West

The very best destinations, trips, and dining experiences for foodies

Top 50 local food shops

For a taste of the top delicacies being made in the West, check out these amazing places--and add a special touch to your table

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Cheesemongers: SoCal
Photo by Jeffery Cross

Cheesemongers: SoCal

Santa Barbara | C’est Cheese. When Michael and Kathryn Graham opened up shop in 2003, Santa Barbara got the boon of their 140-choice case and the chance to taste and learn. Monthly classes lay out the difference between, say, Swiss cheeses like Challerhocker and Scharfe Maxx. Michael relishes salumi so much (plain to see from the charcuterie selection) that he developed the Salumi iPhone app, a tool that helps you navigate the world of cured meats. You can sort by animal or region or search A to Z. Our pick: The grilled sandwich with raw goat cheddar, goat gouda, Spanish chorizo, roasted piquillo peppers, and arugula. 825 Santa Barbara St.; cestcheese.com

Santa Monica | Farmshop Cheesemonger. Emiliano Lee believes cheeses are like babies: They can’t talk but need to be cared for. That’s why he spends 85 percent of his time cleaning, drying—even doing triage—on the ones in his case. Lee is cozy with small producers in the West who allow him to offer such standouts as Rogue River Creamery’s crumbly raw-milk blue from Central Oregon. Our pick: A jar of quince paste from L.A. jam maker Sqirl, perfect with sheep’s-milk cheese. 225 26th St.; farmshopla.com

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